Santa Maria del Oro, Nayarit: An Enchanting Lagoon, and More

santa maria del oro nayarit
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Santa Maria del Oro, Nayarit: An Enchanting Lagoon, and More

Santa Maria del Oro is a small town famous for its stunning lagoon, which is located in the crater of an extinct volcano.

The lagoon is a natural wonder that attracts visitors who want to enjoy its turquoise water, lush vegetation, and peaceful atmosphere.

Santa Maria del Oro is not only a place to relax and admire the scenery, but also to have fun and adventure.

In this blog post, I will tell you all about visiting Santa Maria del Oro, Nayarit, including how to get there, what to do, where to stay, and what to eat.

Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway, a family vacation, or a solo trip, this charming little town will enchant you with its beauty and charm.

Where is Santa Maria del Oro, Nayarit?

To get to Santa Maria del Oro, Nayarit, you have several options depending on where you are coming from.

If you are traveling from Puerto Vallarta or Guadalajara, you can take a bus to Tepic, the capital of Nayarit, and from there, a taxi will take you to the lagoon for about 280 pesos.

Alternatively, you can rent a car and drive to Santa Maria del Oro, following Highway 200 and then the route toward Compostela.

The drive from Puerto Vallarta is about 2.5 hours and 2 from Guadalajara.

If you are traveling from another city in Mexico, you can fly to the Tepic International Airport, which is about 50 kilometers away from Santa Maria del Oro, and then take a taxi or a bus to the lagoon.

Santa Maria’s background

santa maria del oro nayarit

Santa Maria del Oro was built on a valley that is part of a rugged area.

More precisely, it is located to the east, west, and north of the municipality of Nayarit and covers 75% of the municipal surface, formed mostly by the Tepame and Las Cuevas hills.

Here is where the Transversal Volcanic Mountain Range zone begins and goes towards the Colima volcano, at one end, and towards the Sangangüey volcano, which flows into Tepic.

During pre-Hispanic times, the place was people-free. In the 12th century, the first indigenous groups settled in the area.

With the arrival of the Spaniards, the original peoples were subdued and the place was used as a passage route to the northwest by orders of Francisco Cortés de San Buenaventura, a Spanish military and explorer.

Although in 1530 the name of the place was “Santa María de Acuitapilco,” in honor of the patron saint and the Acuitapilco mine, the name was not kept.

In 1594, it changed to “Santa María del Oro” because of the three gold (oro) mines near the town.

5 Things to do in Santa Maria del Oro, Nayarit

In this tiny paradise, you can do a variety of activities that involve nature. Such as bird watching, boat rides, sport fishing, and water sports like windsurfing, kayaking, and wakeboarding.

It is also ideal for swimming, snorkeling, and sky diving.

Its banks invite camping, rappelling, zip-lining, horseback riding or just walking and exploring the area.

1. Explore the wonderful Santa María del Oro Lagoon


Of course, one of the main tourist attractions is its lagoon, which is almost 2.25 kilometers long and 1.2 kilometers wide.

Its formation is due to a crater created by the impact of a meteorite millions of years ago.

And, contrary to what the locals say (that its depth has never been found), it is 60 meters deep (about 197 ft).

Its waters change shades due to the minerals and its high alkalinity levels, in some parts it’s blue, and in others green, which is why is also known as the “enchanted lagoon.”

Here you can take beautiful pictures to share with your friends about your trip to Santa Maria del Oro.

You can also swim if you wish, this lagoon maintains a warm temperature and many minerals, so it will help your skin to regenerate.

You can also choose to go kayaking or boating.

2. Venture to the Silla Waterfall

santa maria del oro nayarit

Don’t miss the opportunity to visit and enjoy the majestic La Silla waterfall. It is located in the neighborhood of Acuitapilco, municipality of Santa Maria del Oro, Nayarit.

La Silla waterfall is approximately 30 meters high and is surrounded by incredible vegetation and panoramic views that are a delight.

In addition, its refreshing waters will make you want to take a dip!

3. Visit the Templo del Señor de la Asención

santa maria del oro nayarit mexico

The Temple of the Lord of the Ascension is considered the greatest architectural treasure of Santa Maria del Oro, Nayarit, and was built in the 17th century.

It has paintings from the XVI century that have remained almost as they were originally on its walls.

Also, the atrium with a neo-gothic style is striking and unique, you have to see it!

4. Explore the ruins of the Hacienda San José Mojarras

In the town of San José de Mojarras, you will find the Temple of Señor San José, which dates back to the 18th century.

This temple is considered a protected historical monument. It is located inside the ex-hacienda of the same name and has a priest on staff in addition to his house which is next to the church.

5. Spend the night by the lagoon in a magnificent glamping site

santa maria del oro nayarit glamping
Unique glamping experience at Punta Santa Maria
The stunning lagoon

Glamping is a new way of camping. As its name suggests, it fuses traditional camping with the glamour of a luxury hotel room.

And Punta Santa Maria is a spectacular experience that will allow you to connect with the enchanted lagoon uniquely.

Tips for visiting Santa Maria del Oro

The best time to travel here is from November to December. During this period, the temperature is pleasant, and almost no rain.

The highest average temperature in Santa Maria del Oro is 33°C in May and the lowest is 24°C in January. The rainy season starts in June and lasts through the beginning of October.

However, keep in mind that spending a night glamping while it rains is a sensational experience.

Also, if you have enough time, visit Real de Acuitapilco, one of the first mining towns in Nayarit.

And because of its proximity to the Silla waterfall, it is an excellent alternative to stay for the day.

Here you will find comfortable cabins, natural springs, and ruins of an old hacienda, in addition to the beautiful Silla waterfall.

Try the local food!

fish skins
Santa Maria del Oro is known for making the best fried fish skins

Although there are many Mexican delicacies to try here, the signature food in Santa Maria del Oro is the Chicharron de Pescado (fried crispy fish chips).

It is made with floured fish fillet and fried. At the Punta Santa María, it is exquisite and you can try it with chipotle dressing.

Another popular dish here is Venorio. It’s a type of spicy mole prepared with the veins and seeds of red bell peppers and accompanied by chopped nopales (cactus) and small pieces of pork.

Santa Maria del Oro, Nayarit: Conclusion

In conclusion, this magical town is truly a gem waiting to be discovered.

The enchanting lagoon, with its pristine waters and lush surroundings, is just the beginning of the wonders this destination has to offer.

From vibrant local culture to outdoor adventures, there’s something for every traveler seeking a unique and authentic experience.

Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a history buff, or simply looking for a tranquil escape, Santa Maria del Oro has it all.

Explore the depths of the lagoon, connect with the warmth of the locals, and create memories that will linger in your heart long after you leave.

This lagoon town is not just a destination; it’s an unforgettable journey into the heart of Mexico’s natural beauty and cultural richness.

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